Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The four horsemen

Ronaldo is gone. So is van Nistelrooy and Robben. And Torres, Raul, Fabregas and Villa.

While we're at it we might as well acknowledge Beckham's resignation from the captaincy (a good thing for English football). Oh, and he's gone too, along with Rooney.

Ronaldinho didn't bother showing up (was he there?). Riquelme did, and will be remembered.

Who's left? And importantly, who's gonna make an impact the next few days.

*dish* *bish* thinks it'll be these four (but what the fifi do I know anyway, right?):

Miroslav Klose
5 goals and he still looks likely to score some more. I say this because he also looks the most likely to get a penalty against the man-marking Italians. Apart from scoring, he can hold the ball up while waiting for the cavalry to arrive; ask Podolski who got two goals from this.

I expect the Italian I name below to almost blot Ballack out of the game (if MB's injury doesn't do this already); with Frings out, the German midfield is going to take some sorting out.

Klose could be the best chance they have of unlocking a chetti-like Italian defence. Germany need him more than ever.

Andrea Pirlo
I expect this game too will be a tight, cagey affair. The catalyst for an Italian victory will rest on the successful shackling of Michael Ballack.

I imagine Lippi is more likely to use Pirlo instead of Gennaro "The Snarl" Gattuso for this task, simply because at this stage you can't afford losing a player through suspensions, or worse, being reduced to 10 men; with Gattuso, that risk is always present.

Pirlo is a delicate enforcer against Gattuso's rugger-bugger, "take no prisoners" approach. And he can hit a sweet spot from set-plays too. If he's on song, the Italians will be singing.

Maniche
Much will be made about the return of Deco and Costinha, and of Figo and Christina Ronaldo.

But for sheer unspotted mayhem, enter Maniche. I imagine Scolari would use him to good effect simply because the French may be paying too much attention to the above players. Maniche makes dangerous runs, passes well, does the spade work in defence, and makes a menace of himself going forward.

He's got an experienced minder in Claude Makalele (who'll also have an exciting 90 minutes looking after the interests of Deco and Figo), but one slip and Maniche will be troubling the French back four.

Zidane
Whichever way the game against Portugal goes, the voices were right, and Zidane did well in reversing his retirement for one last swan song with les Blues.

Against Spain and Brazil he was a monster. Against Portugal we may yet see his best performance in the blue shirt.

It is plainly obvious that everyone in this French team wants to win this World Cup for Zizou as much as they want it for France and for themselves; they all look prepared to fight till the death, just like Diego and the 10 Argentines in '86.

And nobody in the footballing planet will begrudge this gentleman of the spotlight.

Plus, I like Zidane.

37 comments:

spiller said...

On top of that, don't forget: Lehman vs Buffon
Ricardo vs Barthez

Damn they are so good! They make Robinson plays like 3 years-old.

Hate the Germans. Go Italiaaaa!!

mamabola said...

Go Zizou.......... its like watching God play football, man.......

K. M. Phang said...

"And nobody in the footballing planet will begrudge this gentleman of the spotlight."

You've spoken the truth Mr Keropok. Nobody would begrudge him indeed.

Go get it Zizou.......

eA said...

Just thought of Miroslav Klose scoring again tonight in Dortmund...

Kind Regards
Andreas

Puspha said...

Can't wait for 2nite's game. Deutschland against Italia. Klose is definately to score goal. The Germans don't play but work football. If u happen to watch the German tvs, almost 75% of their ads showcase the football players. They know only beer & football. Hopp Deutschland!!!!

Ricardo is too good. Without him, Portugal wuldn't have made it to the semifinals.

Henry is like a horse, hehehehe. Clean guy.

Zidane has being doing his magic. I admire his tactics. I hope tat he gets hold of the World Cup b4 retiring. He deserves it.

Mr D said...

Finally you have said something that makes sense. Zizou deserves to win the world cup and leave football on this note. Class and style. What a player.

Viva les blues.

I leave comments for Italy and Germany to Metria.

kickciggys said...

today's game is gonna be a scrappy affair..klose n luca toni are gonna score and i see dat bastian fler having a big game....gillardino has to step up his game if italy are to win n totti of course...if it goes down to penalties..do expect two very good penalty stoppers to come good which i think buffon coming up tops

lilyliverbird said...

Have decided to root for France too since both the teams I was rooting for has bungkus.

Metria said...

Italy and Germany - so hard to pick one since I like them both. I think Germany will get through though.

Mmmm... Ballack ....

Ariel said...

me too.. i also like zidane so now, i support france lor.

but very sedihla my hati after this morning's match! :-(

Dame RoSse said...

sigh..
heartpalpitation when germany... lost.

Keropok said...

Two boxers slugged it out tooth and nail over the first 9 rounds. At times daring, at times cautious, both played their punches well; it would have been improbable at that point to tell who was ahead on points.

At the death of the 12th round, however, the one in the blue trunks landed a square hit from the left that floored the one in white. The latter got on his feet quickly and moved in for the counter punch that would have salvaged some points.

But all too soon... just as he steadied himself, he dropped his shoulder, and smack in the centre came the blow from the man in blue.

Nevermind the points, it was a knockout!

Keropok said...

!spiller: What did I say about Pirlo eh... totally marked Mikey Bollocks out of the game.

Got it wrong with Klose. Again. Cannavaro was a mountain!

!mamabola, k.m.phang: Enjoy the magic tonight. The voices were right!

!eA: Get well soon, bro. Germans can walk with their heads held high.

!Pushpa: Wah, visitor all the way from Switzerland! I so got to try that plum recipe...

Eh, did I say something sissy in a footbie blog? I mean... make me my plum pie, wench!!! :)

Keropok said...

!Mr D: Eh bro... finally??? Blardy hell, just because I refuse to acknowledge England's so called technical superiority??? You serious???

!kickciggys: A well-deserved victory for the Italians. Super performance all round, bar Luca Toni. Canavarro and Pirlo were peerless.

!lilyliverbird: Which two teams would that be? I'm guessing England and Spain? No???

!Metria: Well, you know now. Welcome to retirement Mikey Bollocks!

!Ariel: Keep the support going, my friend. A vote for Zidane is a vote for male pattern baldness! Me like...

!Dame RoSse: Stay safe, my friend. Get well soon.

spiller said...

Pirlo deserved the Man of the Match.

By the way, I think Gattuso is the one that marked Ballack throughout the game eh?

Klose had a good game, he just didn't get the service he needed. In fact, he had a good tournament too! Expect him to score 1 or 2 more in 3rd-place match.

He's got 10 goals in WC now, and he's only 28. Maybe he can overtake Ronaldo's record next WC? Hehe. We'll see.

krazie*angel said...

ok i also like zidane. not because he is bald. and he is definitely not good looking.

but i think he play very nicely, like a good dancer dancing.

see what happen when a dumb ignorant bimbo talk about footie.

BLaCkFeLiNe said...

football eh? ummm..dun know nuthing abt it..but I know they have gd looking players:p

Keropok said...

!spiller: Pirlo was mega. MOTM toss up between him and Canavarro... but in truth this was as good a team effort from the Italians if there ever was one.

I think Gattuso was latching on Podolski (who kept drifting in deep) rather than Bollocks. Pirlo kept him silent - what more, he won the ball and distributed well, incl that Grosso goal.

Pirlo is the Italian Mascherano, who really is the Argentinian Makalele :)

!krazie*angel: If you like football - for whatever reason - you ought to be entitled to your comment. Me no like any form of fascist exclusivity, so anything goes la...

Keropok said...

!blackfeline: Ditto reply to krazie*angel. Nice suit!

visithra said...

poor germans - missed the game woke up n went to sleep grrr

mamabola said...

come on zizou... come on...
oh the tension is so taut i can hardly breathe, so i'm breathing hardly!

Daniel Franklin Gomez said...

If Portugal beats France, they will lose to Italy in the final.

If France beats Portugal, then it'll be a 50-50 final.

No points for guessing which final I want! :-)

Mong said...

I hope France ges through. If Portugal it will be a blardie bawwwring finale!

kickciggys said...

pirlo's passing was clinical all through except for dat one second of craziness..and cannavaro...did wat any captain should do..be a bloody rock n lead by example which that over-rated bullocks flear didnt do very well.today's game expect zizou and ribery to step up n show dat ronaldo flear a good lesson about playin beautiful football

Keropok said...

!visithra: Aiyoyo... why lar laikdis?

!mamabola: Careful there... this is a family blog! Lol... passion is sure great, aint it!

!Daniel, am I happy to see you're alive and well bro. Was getting worried there. Hold your head up!

Yeah, I'd like a France v Italy final too. Would be magnifico!

!kickciggys: Which one second was this?

Even from a MU fan, I wish someone would stamp on Christina's nuts instead tonight. I'll be so damn happy to see him leave Old Trafford. Too many sissies in that number 7 shirt!!!

A Shabby Singh said...

France 3 Portugal 2

"Yes Paul, I think this will go down as one of the best games in World Cup history..."

"Need some splinters for your arse Shebby?"

Angel Eyes said...

Jz dropped by to say hi to you!

(bloghopping from Blackfeline's)

Ariel said...

*tumpang ye, keropok*

hahahah rotflmao to a shabby singh's comment!

And mister keropok: I want to kiss Zidane's feet oredi (after he's washed them lah...)

visithra said...

I think ive lost the wc watching mood did the wake up n go back to sleep again grrr - bah - but watched replay of those 2 italian goals- whoa briliant goals man - one of it hit the goal post and curved in - wow wow

Keropok said...

!Shabby: Right said, mate... And what makes you think you know more than Scolari, eh... Just bcos Portugal lost doesn't give you the right so say "I'm sorry Senor Scolari, but you got it wrong!!!"

Po dah!

!angel eyes: Come back again, anytime.

!ariel: You don't have a foot fetish now, do you?

!visithra: Why so sad? I think it is going to be a great final. Fitting end to a satisfactory tournament.

visithra said...

well im sad coz they both made it here coz of an awarded penalty kick

Keropok said...

I don't really like Henry - he's a great player when he plays fair - but most of the time he's a moaner and a shit-stirrer.

This time however, I have to agree with the ref that it was a penalty. Carvalho left a trailing leg, Henry was advancing for the ball, and got caught.

Any other place on the pitch, nobody would have argued with the foul. Since it happened in the box, the ref had no choice.

That's football Visithra... I would have rather seen a mega Zidane open-play goal... but I'll take this all the same...

kickciggys said...

was waiting for someone to kick cristina ronaldo's ass...sadly dat didnt happen...kudos to the french for overcoming all the pre tourney negative comments to get this far

Keropok said...

!kickciggys: I was one of those who supplied the negative comments. Mea culpa...

How glad I am that I was wrong...

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